What Is The Best Way To Deal With Online Bullies And Their Nasty Comments?
Any cosplayer who has a public social media presence has likely dealt with nasty comments from online strangers at one point or another. You post content hoping to get some traction for your social media account and impact your followers positively, only to see that someone posted a personally insulting or harassing message that derails your positive mojo with negativity and toxicity. What is the best way to deal with these people and their comments?
Nasty comments are a form of online bullying and can cause some people physical, mental, and emotional distress. Typically, these bullies will ignore the intent of your post entirely and make snide remarks about your weight, race, ethnicity, gender, height, or some other personal characteristic. In addition to hurtful messages, this hostility can also come in the form of posting embarrassing photos or videos, creating fake accounts to harass someone, or making threats. Keep in mind that if nasty comments evolve into ongoing harassment or threats, you can and should report those incidents to the police. Don’t internalize them or try to deal with them on your own.
However, before it even gets to that point, it can still be hard to know how to respond when you find yourself in that situation. Here are some things you can do when you find yourself dealing with nasty comments on your posts:
1. Ignore Them
Most online bullies do what they do because they want attention or laughs from other people. The more attention they get from you, the more likely they will be to keep harassing you. If you call out their comment in a post or video of your own, regardless of how much you claim you were not impacted by it, it gives the bully the impression that you were impacted by it enough to make a special post about it. That just encourages them to continue doing what they’re doing because they got a reaction. If they see that their attempts at bullying did not affect you at all and that you ignored them completely, they’ll likely lose interest in you as a target. Simply delete their post, if you feel like doing so, and move on.
2. Block Them
One of the most effective strategies is to report and block the person making the comments. Reporting can be done by using the “Report” feature on the platform you are using. This will alert the platform’s moderators who can take appropriate action against the bully. Blocking the bully will prevent them from seeing your posts and interacting with you in the future.
3. Stand Up To Them
Most bullies pick on people they see as easy targets who are easy to hurt and they aren’t likely to want a target who fights back. They are often very insecure people who seek to hurt others but aren’t equipped to handle being challenged. Call them out for their rude and inappropriate comments and let them know that it’s not going to be tolerated on your social media account when it’s directed at you or any of your followers. This does not mean that you should encourage other users to attack them or turn your social media account into a never-ending war of insults. Neither you nor your followers need that kind of drama. Shut it down immediately. But calling someone out for their bad behavior can let people know that you are a strong person who isn’t willing to be messed with and it can indicate to other users that some behaviors are not acceptable when replying to your posts.
4. Be The Bigger Person
Remember that the bully may not necessarily be a bad person. They may have been bullied themselves and are just taking their own pain out on you. You don’t know what they’ve been through or what caused them to become an insensitive person. Carefully considering how you choose to react may be a learning opportunity for that person. Consider posting a response to their comment that simply states, “This post was unkind. As a society, we need to do better when dealing with people online and treat others with respect. If you would like to continue to see my content, I encourage you to do better in the future.” If they don’t apologize and delete their comment on their own, delete it yourself and block their account. But if you can turn the situation around and show people a positive example of resolving this situation peacefully and with maturity and diplomacy, you could be sending a valuable message that inspires someone else to do the same.
5. Exercise Self-confidence
Understand that you are dealing with a person who has limited knowledge about you or your value as a person. What difference does their opinion of you make? So what if they think you’re the wrong color or body type to cosplay a particular character? It’s not going to cause the people who truly know you and care about you to think any less of you, so it shouldn’t cause you to think less of yourself. You can reach out to family and friends for reassurance if needed. They can remind you of whose opinion really matters. If you are someone who is easily hurt by the comments of online strangers, focus on building your self-esteem and place what you think about yourself as a priority over what online strangers think. You have to live with you, but you don’t ever have to see or hear from those people again. The process of becoming someone unshakable with enough self-confidence to not be wounded by the words of others can take a while. If you are struggling with that process, you may want to reconsider having a presence on social media that is open to the public until you’ve progressed at it. It’s not worth having a public social media presence if it’s damaging your image of yourself. But once you become secure in knowing your value, there isn’t much online strangers can throw at you that will stick.
The Last Word
It can be disheartening when you put the time and effort into creating a cool costume and built up the nerve to post photos of it online, only to find that someone responded to it with cruel or insensitive comments intended to hurt your feelings and diminish you or your work. Whatever their motives, you have all the power when it comes to deciding how you will let it impact you and to what extent you will let the words of others cause you to change what you’re doing. There are mean people in the world and being accessible on social media means you’re likely to be exposed to them sooner or later, along with the people who enjoy your work enough to follow your account. When faced with this situation, remember that it’s your social media account and you have several options for dealing with it. Whatever option you choose, it’s essential to prioritize your mental health and well-being when dealing with negative behavior. Remember, you have the power to control your online interactions and maintain a positive and healthy social media presence.